verb ex·trap·o·late \ ik-ˈstra-pə-ˌlāt \
Updated on: 25 Feb 2018

Definition of extrapolate

extrapolated; extrapolating
transitive verb
1 a : to predict by projecting past experience or known data
  • extrapolate public sentiment on one issue from known public reaction on others
b : to project, extend, or expand (known data or experience) into an area not known or experienced so as to arrive at a usually conjectural knowledge of the unknown area
  • extrapolates present trends to construct an image of the future
2 : to infer (values of a variable in an unobserved interval) from values within an already observed interval
intransitive verb
: to perform the act or process of extrapolating


play \ik-ˌstra-pə-ˈlā-shən\ noun


play \ik-ˈstra-pə-ˌlā-tiv\ adjective


play \ik-ˈstra-pə-ˌlā-tər\ noun

Examples of extrapolate in a Sentence

  1. We can extrapolate the number of new students entering next year by looking at how many entered in previous years.

  2. With such a small study it is impossible to extrapolate accurately.

Recent Examples of extrapolate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extrapolate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

The Many Uses of extrapolate

Scientists worry about the greenhouse effect because they have extrapolated the rate of carbon-dioxide buildup and predicted that its effect on the atmosphere will become increasingly severe. On the basis of their extrapolations, they have urged governments and businesses to limit factory and automobile emissions. Notice that it's acceptable to speak of extrapolating existing data (to produce new data), extrapolating from existing data (to produce new data), or extrapolating new data (from existing data)—in other words, it isn't easy to use this word wrong.

Origin and Etymology of extrapolate

Latin extra outside + English -polate (as in interpolate) — more at extra-

EXTRAPOLATE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of extrapolate for English Language Learners

  • : to form an opinion or to make an estimate about something from known facts

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